SLR selects 3i as partner for next phase of international expansion

06 May 2008

SLR Holdings (“SLR”, “the Company”), one of the UK’s leading environmental consultancies, today announces an agreement in which 3i will invest £32.5 million for a significant minority stake in the Company, valuing it at approximately £100 million. 3i replaces ISIS Equity Partners as minority shareholders in SLR.

SLR is an international environmental consultancy with offices in the UK, US and Canada. It has particular strengths in the energy sector, with blue-chip customers in both the oil and renewable power sectors, the private sector waste management industry, to which it is the UK’s leading consultant, and the planning and development sector, working for many of the major commercial developers. SLR is an employee controlled consultancy, with over 220 employee shareholders.

For the year ended October 2007, SLR reported revenues of £32.7m (up 36%, year on year) and EBITDA of £6.6m (up 47%, year on year), driven by strong performance across all areas of the business.  The figures reported include the acquisitions of Insite Environments, a UK landscape, architecture and masterplanning firm, and Seacor Environmental, a leading Canadian environmental consultant during the year. Since ISIS’ investment in 2004 employee numbers have risen from 168 to 650.

SLR has an ambitious strategy of complementing organic growth with the selective acquisition of high calibre companies to extend its technical and geographic coverage, with India, Australasia and continental Europe being particular target regions for future expansion.  3i’s investment, together with £29m of debt funding provided by Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets, will provide SLR with significant funds to support its growth strategy.

3i has deep experience in the sector, having successfully supported the growth of ERM which it sold to Bridgepoint for $535m in 2005, and has a strong understanding of consulting businesses with investments including: Foster + Partners, Williams Lea, Coor Service Management, NNC and KNEIP amongst others.  Richard Bishop, Partner, 3i Growth Capital, will join the Board of SLR Holdings.

David Richards, Chief Executive of SLR, commenting on the investment, said:

“As a market leader in a highly attractive market, SLR had received approaches from a number of other sources within the private equity arena, however, in 3i we feel we have found our ideal partner due to a combination of its unique international network, strong sector credentials and clear specialisation in minority investing to help empower our people and support our ambitious growth strategy. We are confident we have the right team for future growth and to bring the company to a successful IPO in the medium term.”

Rupert Bell, 3i Director, commented:

"SLR is a market leading business in a sector with tremendous growth potential. We have known the management well for some time and are delighted to be working in partnership with such an outstanding team. We look forward to leveraging our unique global network and sector expertise to help SLR in the next phase of its growth strategy, to develop its international profile and to grow the business exponentially."

Wol Kolade, Managing Partner, ISIS Equity Partners, added:

“We have worked with SLR to support its impressive organic and acquisitive growth over the last four years.  During that time it has grown to be one of the UK’s leading environmental consultancies with an expanding international presence.  We are delighted to have realised this successful investment which yielded a return of over six times our original investment.  We wish SLR well in its next phase of growth.”

ISIS’s investment was made by Shani Zindel and Liz Jones.  Liz Jones managed the investment and was a Director of SLR Holdings.

PricewaterhouseCoopers  Corporate Finance acted as advisers to 3i and Newco. Due diligence was performed by KPMG Transaction services, CIL and AON. Legal advisers were Travers Smith (3i), Olswang (ISIS), Wragge & Co (management) and Osborne Clarke (banking). 

Notes to editors

About SLR Holdings:

SLR is an international environmental consultancy, based near Oxford, with over 650 employees working from 18 offices in the UK, and 24 offices in North America. It is one of the fastest growing and most profitable environmental consultants in the UK. It has a broad base of blue chip customers in the energy, waste management, planning & development, manufacturing, mining and financial sectors including, for example, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, BP, Hanson, Honda, Montagu Private Equity, Surrey County Council and The Environment Agency.  Recent high profile projects include environmental studies for the Pebble Project, which is the largest copper/gold deposit in North America, the UK’s first anaerobic digestion plant for municipal waste, and advising on major development projects such as the redevelopment of Highbury home of Arsenal Football Club at Highbury, and advising Montagu Private Equity on environmental aspects of their acquisition of Biffa.

SLR is an employee controlled consultancy with over 220 employee shareholders and, prior to the completion of this transaction, had enjoyed the backing of ISIS Equity Partners since 2004.  ISIS’ investment together with facilities provided by Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets have enabled SLR to develop rapidly into the environmental market in the UK, North America and Canada growing staff numbers by over 100% in the last two years alone.

 

About ISIS:
ISIS Equity Partners is a leading private equity investor focused on the lower mid-market. We invest between £2m and £30m in dynamic small- to medium-sized companies across five sectors, typically valued between £5m and £75m.
ISIS works in close partnership with management teams to create market-leading companies.  Recent investments include Williams Medical Supplies (WMS), Carnell, On the Beach, CSC and Playforce. Realisations include Americana, kidsunlimited, Hawksmere and RLA.
ISIS has managed private equity funds since 1995 and during this period has backed 90 businesses and achieved 56 exits. ISIS currently manages in excess of £700m for institutional and private investors.
ISIS recently raised its fourth fund, ISIS IV LP, which closed in November 2007. This fund has attracted investors from across Europe, the US and Asia-Pacific. 
ISIS manages five Baronsmead Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) quoted on the London Stock Exchange with a diversified portfolio of PE investment in quoted and unquoted companies. Launched in 1995, Baronsmead VCT was one of the first VCTs and today the five funds form one of the leading groups of VCTs with approximately £285m currently under management.

About 3i

3i is a world leader in private equity and a FTSE 100 company. We focus on Growth Capital, Buyouts, Infrastructure and Quoted Private Equity (“QPE”) and invest across Europe, North America and Asia.  Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our business relationships.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.

3i Growth Capital provides financial and strategic support to established businesses with the potential for outstanding value growth. We invest between €20m and €250m in each business to help achieve growth ambitions, restructure shareholdings, release equity or change the balance of equity to debt.

Recent investments include Hyperion (UK), Gruppo Union Radio (Spain), Quintiles (US), Futaste (China), Venture Production Plc. (UK), Groupe Cair (France), UFO Moviez (India), DNA (Finland) and ACR (Singapore). Realisations include SeLoger.com (France), Alimak Hek (Sweden), Williams Lea (UK); and Hayley Conference Centres (UK).

 

For further information please contact:

Rachel Richards
email. rachel.richards@3i.com
tel.  +44 207 975 357